Breakdown of atomic-sized metallic contacts measured on nanosecond scale

Shaoyin Guo, Joshua Hihath, Nongjian Tao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


We report on a study of atomic-sized metallic contacts on a time scale of nanoseconds using a combined DC and AC circuit. The approach leads to a time resolution 3-4 orders of magnitude faster than the measurements carried out to date, making it possible to observe fast transient conductance-switching events associated with the breakdown, re-formation, and atomic scale structural rearrangements of the contact. The study bridges the wide gap in the time scales between the molecular dynamic simulations and real world experiments, and the method may be applied to study nano- and subnanosecond processes in other nanoscale devices, such as molecular junctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)927-933
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 9 2011


  • Quantum point contact
  • RF STM
  • atomic size contact
  • conductance quantization
  • electron transport
  • molecular junctions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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